If a Martian were suddenly to land on earth and start listening to and reading the mainstream media, he would form the impression that the entire Middle East conflict were due to Israel building some settlements in land that much of the world thinks should become a Palestinian state. A near-consensus exists among the governments of the world and among media writers that peace has yet to break out in the Middle East because of three principle reasons. The first is that the Jews and the Arabs have been unable to agree about whether there should be a Palestinian state. The second is because Israel has obstinately refused to withdraw its troops from (so-called) “occupied Arab” lands. The third is because Israel behaves cruelly towards the Palestinians. The Martian could easily carry these beliefs back to its home planet, as long as it did not bother to learn the background and the history of the Middle East conflict. Those three reasons cannot survive an antibiotic of familiarity with Middle East history.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seem to think the idea of Palestinian statehood is the most wonderful idea to come along since the Thirteenth Amendment. And almost all world politicians, along with the Israeli Left, insist that all Israeli settlements must be removed from the West Bank because they serve as the main obstacle to peace. The reality is that the conflict has very little to do with debate over Palestinian statehood and even less to do with Israeli “settlements.” In fact Israel has agreed in principle, somewhat foolishly, to the erection of such a Palestinian state, at least subject to some security conditions and other concessions from the Palestinians -- like recognizing Israel’s right to exist. As it turns out, even so-called “moderate” Palestinians reject any such idea.
Meanwhile debate about the Middle East conflict is based on an incredible absence of historic information and on a series of stylish misconceptions about Middle East history. The anti-Israel Lobby, which grows by the day in its maliciousness and anti-Semitism, counts on the ignorance of much of the public concerning how the Middle East got to where it is.
Here are just a handful of popular misconceptions and their antidotes:
1. Falsehood: Israel was erected on land that belonged to Palestinian Arabs.
Truth: Before Israel was created its territory never belonged to Palestinian Arabs and had not been ruled by any Arabs at all since the Middle Ages. It had been a Turkish province for centuries until it was captured by Britain during World War I. The League of Nations awarded governance of “Palestine” to Britain at the end of the war in exchange for its commitment to turn the area into a Jewish homeland. The lands on which Jewish immigrants settled before Israel was created were purchased by Jews at above-market prices and in most cases had no Arabs living on them. Virtually no Arabs were evicted.
2. Falsehood: The Jews came to "Palestine" as foreigners and aliens whereas the Palestinians were the indigenous people of the territory.
Truth: Jews lived in “Palestine,” which is the Land of Israel or "Eretz Yisroel," continuously from the time of the Bible. Most families of “Palestinians” migrated into "Palestine,” during the same period as the Zionist waves of immigration, starting in the second half of the 19th century. The largest ethnic group in the country at the time was the Turks. The “Palestinian Arabs” in 1948 were primarily families of migrants from Lebanon and Syria. Ironically, they were motivated to become “Palestinians” in the first place thanks to the Zionist movement, which brought capital and labor into “Palestine” and improved living conditions there. Huge numbers of the names of “Palestinian” Arab villages and towns are slightly-modified Hebrew names. It is difficult to dig in the ground of “Palestine” without uncovering Jewish artifacts, some thousands of years old. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Mandatory Palestine’s territory had been sliced off in the 1920s and used to set up Jordan, an Arab Palestinian state much larger than Israel. The remaining territory, Western Palestine, was to become the Jewish homeland. That was the original “two-state solution,” the same "innovation" now being promoted for the Western third of the remaining part of Palestine.
3. Falsehood: There is no Palestinian state today because of Israeli aggression and obstinacy.
Truth: There is no Palestinian state today because of Arab aggression and obstinacy. In late 1947, the United Nations approved by a two thirds majority a proposal to create in to create in Western Palestine two states to replace the British Mandatory regime there. One would be Jewish and the other a Palestinian Arab state. The Jews agreed. The Arabs rejected the idea. The Arab states launched an attack of genocidal aggression against the Jews, invaded “Palestine” and gobbled up the lands earmarked for the Arab Palestinian state. Most of those lands were then held illegally by Jordan and semi-legally by Egypt until 1967 when they were liberated by Israel in the Six Day War. The Arab world has maintained a state of war with Israel since 1948, refusing to recognize its legitimacy, and attacking Israel over and over in a series of wars and terrorism campaigns. The Arab states attacked Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006, and sponsored terrorist atrocities against Jews in Israel since it was created. The reason for the attack which produced the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 is exactly the same thing that stands in the way of any real peace settlement today.
4. Falsehood: Israel conducted “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian Arabs in 1948-49.
Truth: The Arab states conducted ethnic cleansing of Jews after 1948. About a million Jews were expelled by Arab states, their property stolen, and most then became citizens of Israel. Palestinian Arabs became refugees in 1948-49 as a direct result of the Arab war of aggression against Israel, in which the Palestinians participated. The estimated number of such Arab refugees varies between 400,000 and 750,000, with the former the more likely correct estimate. Afterwards, many were quietly allowed to return to Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs from other Arab countries then declared themselves “Palestinian refugees” in order to get handouts from the UN and other international relief organizations. The actual Palestinian Arabs became refugees for the same reason that ethnic Germans living in Eastern Europe became refugees after World War II: because they were on the losing side of the war of aggression launched by their own political leaders.
5. Falsehood: Israelis an apartheid regime and mistreats Arabs.
Truth: Israel is the only Middle East> country that is NOT an apartheid regime. Arabs living under Israeli rule are the only Arabs in the Middle East who enjoy freedom of speech and of the press, free access to courts operating with due process, legal protection for property rights and the right to vote. Israeli Arabs have higher standards of education and health than any other group of Arabs in the Middle East. Israeli Arabs are quite simply the best-treated political minority in the and are in some ways better treated than are minority groups in many European countries. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does NOT deal with Islamist terror through wholesale massacres of the people in whose midst the terrorists operate
6. Falsehood: Arabs engage in aggression and terrorism because Israel occupies territories.
Truth: Israel occupies territories (that had been controlled by Jordan and Egypt before 1967) because of Arab aggression and terrorism. Had the Arabs made peace with Israel after 1949, the West Bank and Gaza would have remained under the hegemony of Arabs and they could easily have erected a Palestinian Arab state there any time they wished. Instead, they attacked Israel in an attempt at genocidal extermination in 1967 and they lost.
7. Falsehood: The Middle East conflict is and has always been based on Israeli opposition to Palestinian self-determination.
Truth: The Middle East conflict is and has always been based on Arab opposition to Israeli-Jewish self-determination. There is one and only one cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, even if that single cause is buried beneath an avalanche of media mud designed to obfuscate and confuse. That single cause is the refusal of the Arab world to come to terms with Israel’s existence within any set of borders whatsoever. The cause of the war is Arab refusal to come to terms with Jewish self-determination in any form whatsoever. The Middle East conflict is not about the right of self-determination of “Palestinian Arabs,” but rather it is about the Arab rejection of self-determination for Israeli Jews. For a century, the Arabs have attempted to block Jewish self-determination, using violence. No Palestinians before 1967 demanded any “homeland,” although they did demand that the Jews be stripped of theirs. That is because Palestinians are not a “people” at all and do not consider themselves such, any more than do the Arabs of Paris or of Detroit. Palestinians never had any real interest in their own state, and in fact rioted violently in 1920 when “Palestine” was detached from Syria by the European powers. Indeed the original term “Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic and in leftist NewSpeak) was coined to refer to the outrage of Palestinians separated from their Syrian homeland. Immediately after the Six Day War a sudden need for a Palestinian state was fabricated by the Arab world, as a gimmick to force Israel back to its pre-1967 borders. Israel would then again be ten-miles wide at its narrowest, and so prepped for the new Arab assault of annihilation and genocide. The Arab world invented the “Palestinian people” so that it would serve the same role as the Sudeten Germans did in the late 1930s. That role was to provide a pretense of legitimacy for the war aims and aggression of a large fascist power. The term “self-determination” has been repeated as a rhetorical “inalienable right” for so long that few people recall that pursuing “self-determination” can also serve as a tool of aggression by barbarous aggressors and totalitarian powers. When Hitler decided to go on a war of conquest in the late 1930s, he dressed up his intentions in the cloak of legitimacy, merely “helping disenfranchised and oppressed people attain self-determination.” He distorted the plight of ethnic Germans living in the Czech Sudetenland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, inventing tales of mistreatment. In reality of course these ethnic Germans already had the option of “self-determination” within the neighboring, sovereign German nation-states, and in fact enjoyed far more freedom and rights than did Germans inside Germany. Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia was prepared through postured indignity over the mistreatment of Germans by Germany’s neighbors. Hitler insisted he was simply seeking to relieve the “misery of mistreated ethnic Germans,” supposedly suffering inside democratic Czechoslovakia. “Self-determination” was also the pretense when Germany attacked Poland and other countries. The Arab world decided that the “Palestinians” must play the role of Sudetens, serving as the political and moral pretense for Arab aggression and Islamofascist imperialism. The Arab fascists then misrepresent themselves as pursuing noble efforts at protecting a mistreated oppressed minority group of Arabs in need of “self-determination.”
Read the rest of the 14 Lies by Steven Plaut HERE
Baruch atem b'Shem, Yeshua